The Ideal School by Jack Cashwell

Jack Cashwell, Writer

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In a perfect world, I envision many changes to schools in the United States. There are a lot of amendments to the way schools are run that I would like to see realized. I dream of a school system in which school curriculum is more focused on practical lessons, students have more opportunities to socialize, and I would also like to see dress code reform. However, I am actually largely satisfied with the elective courses and clubs available at my school, so I won’t be covering that.

Firstly, I’d like to describe how the school would look. I would like the school to be large enough to fit lots of classrooms, a gymnasium, and a cafeteria. I would want it to only be one story, as I feel having multiple stories would cause the classes to be too far away from each other, resulting in an excess of tardy students. Also, the stairs would become clustered and crowded, resulting in the possibility of students falling down the stairs and getting injured. I think the hallways should be wider and the lockers should be bigger as well. However, the aesthetics of the building wouldn’t be the biggest changes I’d make.

The second topic that I’d like to go into detail about is that schools should teach more practical curriculum. For example, I think that topics in mathematics such as slope, sine, cosine, tangent, et cetera, are largely useless and will very rarely be used outside of the classroom. I think that all classes should focus more on the real-world applications of the topics they teach rather than just teaching impractical subjects that the students will likely forget within a year or two. Also, learning about how useful the subject will be later in life will give the students an incentive to learn it, and as a result, the students will be more likely to study and give their best effort.

Also, I believe students should have more opportunities to socialize. Children, especially those in middle and high school, are going through some of the biggest transitional and developmental periods of their lives. They are learning to become independent, and learning adequate social skills is a key part of independence. A lot of classroom environments give students little to no time to talk, which I believe hurts the social development of students. I believe that there is a time and place for students to not be allowed to talk (such as when the teacher is giving instructions), but I believe that students should be allowed to socialize much more often than they usually are.

I would like to see the rules changed as well. Firstly, I think that teachers should, during the hiring process, be judged on more factors than I believe they are. It seems to me that teachers are judged merely on their amount of knowledge on the subject, but I think factors such as their teaching ability and how well they work with kids should be taken into account. If the teacher cannot effectively teach their subject, it doesn’t matter how knowledgeable they may be. Also, if teachers don’t work well with kids or are unreasonably strict or mean, that should be a consideration in hiring the teacher. Teachers who don’t work well with kids often are very unprofessional in that they are rude and sometimes borderline abusive towards students. Often times teachers think that by being excessively strict, they are helping students focus. But in reality, it makes the students dread going to the class and makes them less inclined to focus on the curriculum. If those factors are indeed a part of the hiring process, then it hasn’t done a very good job from what I and others have seen.

Another rule that I would want to see changed is the school’s dress code policy. I feel that many dress codes have the complete wrong idea. The basic philosophy of my school’s dress code is that students should be responsible for the thoughts of other students. They say that you should be careful of what you wear because you might “distract” other students. However, I think that, provided the outfit isn’t outrageously revealing, students should be allowed to wear what they want, and that if other student’s get distracted, that’s their problem. I don’t think students should have to sacrifice wearing what they want and limit their clothing choices just because there’s a possibility that other students will be distracted. You’re not responsible for anyone’s mind but your own, and as such, others’ thoughts are not your responsibility. Also, I believe the dress code goes too far. Banning clothing items such as leggings is excessive, I believe. If anyone gets distracted by another student wearing leggings, then that’s their own problem. The other student shouldn’t be restricted because of the other person’s thoughts.

I sat down with two students today to ask them about their thoughts and feelings about our school system, and about the changes they’d like to see. The first student I interviewed was named Jarren. When I asked him what he thinks about Tabb Middle School, he said that he thinks it’s a good school. I then asked him one thing he’d change about Tabb, he said he’d want to change the positioning of the lunch tables. When I asked what rules he’d like to change, he said he’d want students to be allowed to use their cell phones during lunch. I asked the same questions to a student named Taniya. She said that Tabb is an okay school but she wishes that it was bigger. She said she would want the school to have two stories. One rule she’d change is that she’d want the dress code to be less strict.

All in all, I think schools could use some reform. There are a lot of changes that, in the future, I would like to see take place. I want to see a better school system for the future generations that will one day run our world to be educated in. Education is truly valuable and is a gift to anyone who can access it. However, I think that if curriculum isn’t taught effectively, it can be damaging to the learning experience.

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